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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I just purchased a 2001 Insight with only 58,000 miles. It needed a new IMA battery and Honda graciously covered most of the costs -- which was very good news. According to the dealer, the not so good news is that it needs a new catalytic converter kit. My mechanic told me that it was ok to drive it for a month or two and do that later, when I've recovered from the outlay for the car itself. But, the manual says that a bad cat converter can, in addition to reducing mileage, actually destroy the engine! Is this true?!!

If so, the dealer is giving me a quote of $2100 to replace the converter. They say the kit alone is $1700. Does that sound right for parts and labor? I checked with Majestic Honda and they sell a kit online for $1046 which is why I'm unconvinced . . .

Thoughts and/or suggestions, please!
 

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2001 5S "Turbo"
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You are getting ripped at those prices. Genuine money hungry mentality
Check the site here for additional info.
No a cat cannot destroy an engine. The most that would happen is the cat would get clogged up and the car would really be gutless.
Run it like it's a hot rod for a tank of gas after clearing the code....See if the code reappears and report your findngs here at ICN.

Location in your profile please.
There are probably Insighters in your area that would give you help.

HTh
Willie
 

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What codes/symptoms are you experiencing that makes you/the dealer think the car needs new cats?
 

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It's not purrrrring.

Willie

"Med time".
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, Willie! I just updated my location -- Los Angeles. If an Angeleno knows of a mechanic that specializes in Honda Hybrid repair, I would looove a recommendation.

jeff652: I don't know which codes are popping up -- they're installing the new IMA battery today and when I pick it up, I can get that info from the dealer and get back to you. This is a whole new world. My previous car was a 1984 CRX and I don't even think it had a catalytic converter . . . .
 

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2001 5S "Turbo"
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If you have a bad cat, the code should pop up again as you drive home.
Go to autozone or pep boys and they will tell you the code. Normally they will check it free.
But they won't tell you how to shut off the CEL light.
Come back to ICN for that answer.
HTH
Willie
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, Willie :)
 

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Get the new IMA and drive it normally and see if there actually is a code that pops up. Sounds a little fishy to me. Until you see "the code" I wouldn't worry about it. If it happens then do like Willie said and get the code and report back here.
 

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earlier versions of the ECU software would trigger a code for a bad catalytic converter prematurely. Make sure or ask the dealer if all the updates have been performed, especially the one which stops the P0420 code from occurring too easily.

If the updates have been performed, then it is possible that the cat has gone bad, but it is unlikely at such low miles.
 

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The TSB fixed both of my MT cars.

earlier versions of the ECU software would trigger a code for a bad catalytic converter prematurely. Make sure or ask the dealer if all the updates have been performed, especially the one which stops the P0420 code from occurring too easily.

If the updates have been performed, then it is possible that the cat has gone bad, but it is unlikely at such low miles.

The TSB (07-038?) fixed both my 2000 MT with 117,000 miles on it, and also fixed my 2001 MT with 175,000 miles.

Tim
 

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Bad catalytic converters have destroyed a number of Nissan engines. The vacuum pulses of the engine suck the broken bits of catalyst honeycomb back into the valvetrain and grind the internals down until there's no compression left.
 

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That I would like to have pictures of.
Got a link?

On the Insight, the concern is the second cat, not the first.

Willie
 

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Thanks, I'll check that out.

Willie
 

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After thumbing through a few threads, I see that it was the "pre cat" and not the cat. converter.
So it is (or was) a design flaw.

Thanks
Willie
 

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But, the manual says that a bad cat converter can, in addition to reducing mileage, actually destroy the engine! Is this true?
I'm highly doubtful of this observation. Did you read this yourself or did someone tell you this? What is the page reference?

I am quite skeptical of this conclusion. I've known lots of catalytic failures over the years and never seen one ruin an engine. Even when they go "terminal" and melt down, they usually just choke off the exhaust and compromise the engine power. Once replaced there is no additional damage.
 

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Bad catalytic converters have destroyed a number of Nissan engines. The vacuum pulses of the engine suck the broken bits of catalyst honeycomb back into the valvetrain and grind the internals down until there's no compression left.
Well, I learn something every day;)
 

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Well I read the Nissan ref. Get the car back and see if it throws the p0420. If so, see if the ECM update has been performed. If not then Honda owes you the update. If already done, then there might be problems.

Buy a Scangauge or the new and more powerful C&C gauge from Eli. You gonna need a gauge with this little gem. Not really expensive and you'll learn a lot.
 

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After thumbing through a few threads, I see that it was the "pre cat" and not the cat. converter.
So it is (or was) a design flaw.

Thanks
Willie
Well, to my understanding, the pre-cat is just as much of a catalytic converter as the other catalytic converters in the system - same construction, same materials, just really close to the motor to light off quickly and minimize cold startup emissions. The reason I'm mentioning it here is because the US-bound Insight has a very close-coupled first catalyst as well, that presumably does the same thing.
Now, the Insight's cat isn't known to break apart and grind up the motor like the Nissan's does, but I think that it's a plausible scenario - to be solved by replacing it with a turbocharger :D
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm highly doubtful of this observation. Did you read this yourself or did someone tell you this? What is the page reference?

I am quite skeptical of this conclusion. I've known lots of catalytic failures over the years and never seen one ruin an engine. Even when they go "terminal" and melt down, they usually just choke off the exhaust and compromise the engine power. Once replaced there is no additional damage.
I read it in the 2001 Insight Owner's Manual on pg. 220 under "Malfunction Indicator Lamp." It reads: "If it comes on at any other time, it indicates one of the engine's emissions control systems may have a problem. Even though you may feel no difference in your car's performance, it can reduce your fuel economy and cause your car to put out excessive emissions. Continued operation may cause serious damage."

Then, again on pg. 242: "A defective three way catalytic converter contributes to air pollution, and can impair your engine's performance."
 
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